How Do I Find a Job as a Young Journalist?

Q. I wrote a few months back about a situation I had during my internship with a magazine. It turns out they liked my writing, but wanted to hire someone with more editorial experience. I am now taking part-time jobs that are barely paying my rent and trying to just maintain my dreams of writing and reporting.

I got into journalism a little late, it seems. I graduated college in 2008 and it seems that most available training and internship opportunities are best for undergraduate students or journalism students. Because I have rent to pay and basic needs to meet, these opportunities aren’t financially feasible, and many times the requirements for the opportunity include being a student.

My question is, do you know of any opportunities for new journalists like myself who show skills but can’t afford to do internships that are unpaid or that come with a small stipend? Or do you have any advice?

Thanks for your time,

Leticia

A. A lot of people run into this problem once they get out of school, and this is why some of us urge journalists to do multiple internships while they can.

Unpaid internships — which are becoming more commonplace — aren’t possible for people who had to get paid, whether those people are students or not. You can’t afford to take them.

If you’re to make it as a journalist, it will have to be by finding a job. That is difficult, but internships, programs and additional training are not what you need. You just need a job.

As you are relatively inexperienced, you will have to use one or more of these options:

  • Look for jobs in places that are not popular.
  • Look for jobs at places that are very small.
  • Look for jobs that are not quite what you wanted — but that are in the right newsrooms.

Looking for big jobs or in big cities when your experience is small is not likely to work. You’ll have to get a good starter job, work it for a year or two and jump to something better. And repeat. The most difficult step in this entire process is the one you will take next. Good luck.

E-mail your career questions to Joe.

Coming Friday: She is running into brick walls in print journalism and is ready to try blogging. Should she seek training in blog writing?

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